About Jubilant Bridge

A pure-voiced poet and a dulcimer wizard weave their voices and instruments into a rich, harmony-driven sound that is fresh and innovative.  Intricate arrangements, harmonies “so tight, they pulse” (Mary Cliff—WAMU-FM), comic repartee, a repertoire ranging from critically-acclaimed originals and contemporary songs, to finger-dancing instrumentals and unexpected covers—these are the hallmarks of every Jubilant Bridge performance.  Two-time finalist for Best Group/Duo in the International Acoustic Music Awards, Jubilant Bridge comes from a rich aural tradition, but surprises audiences with counter melodies, changing time signatures, and well-chosen dissonance.  The duo’s instruments go beyond simple accompaniment; the arrangements and the songs themselves are meshed.  They use the vocabulary, but step outside of the conventions, of folk, rock, and pop—not simply stitching together genres, but folding the seams under.  Every song becomes their own.

Carol and Willie’s latest recording, “A Bell A Bird A Star,” called “a gem of a Christmas album” by Significato Journal, achieved #7 on the Folk DJ charts for December 2016.  It consists of beautiful songs of the Christmas season by 20th-century composers, some based on medieval texts; traditional carols in several languages; and Latin pieces.  Many of the songs are not often heard except by choral ensembles, but here, they are intricately arranged for two voices, guitar, and dulcimer.  Gracing the collection are several original songs and instrumentals, including the title track, for which Carol was a finalist in both the Grassy Hill Songwriting and SongDoor competitions.  The duo’s five previous recordings include “Power Lines,” in which Victory Music Review found “an amazing level of melodic richness and complex songwriting,” and the songs “musical and lyrical tapestries that can be surprisingly deep and poetic.”; “Happenstance”; “Under Shattered Skies” (which Victory Music Review proclaimed “a rich aural feast”); “Another Run At the Mountain”; and “Crazy Like The Wind.”  

CarolVocalist and guitarist Carol Van Alstine provides JubilantBridge with most of its distinctive original songs. She comes to songwriting by way of poetry.  Often inspired by dreams, and musical and lyrical phrases that take her unexpected places, her emotionally wise songs depict states of mind and heart and the conflicts between them.  Her awards include Silver and the BMI Songwriter Award for the song “Power Lines” in the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, one of the longest-running song competitions in the nation, and several Honorable Mentions in the Billboard World Song Contest, an international songwriting competition.  With a voice that has been described as “striking,” “ethereal,” and “far purer than Michael Jackson’s fondness for gloves,” she is often asked after a show, “How does such a big voice come out of such a small person?”  Her musical experiences range from performing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to singing soprano in Renaissance choirs.

WillieMountain dulcimer wizard and vocalist Willie Jaeger takes what is often thought of as a “simple” folk instrument and discovers its complexity.  He strums, he fingerpicks, he flatpicks, he plays lead, and recently he’s been experimenting with electric dulcimer.  His unique style of playing, and his popularity as a teacher at the renowned Swallow Hill School of Music, inspired Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly, to vote him Denver’s “Best Local Folkie.”  He was a finalist (Silver) in the national mountain dulcimer championship at Winfield, Kansas, and in 2009 he won a Gold Medal for Best Original Instrumental Composition at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.  An engaging singer with a lyrical baritone, he also plays hammered dulcimer and guitar, and composes instrumentals and the occasional song.